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It is really hard to find any problems with Marvell 88SS9174 controller, which is used in the solid state drives reviewed today. Its characteristics and internal architecture allow designing SSDs with up-to-date performance, and such SSD makers as Corsair, Crucial and Plextor can’t help taking advantage of it. However, it is not as easy to compare Marvell based SSDs against competing products on SandForce controller as it might seem. I think it would make more sense to say that these products are coexisting in parallel planes.

SandForce’s strength is the ability to compress data before it gets into the flash memory. This peculiarity helps solve several problems at once: first of all, increase the performance and prolong the drive’s resource. However, it only works well until the data stored on the drive are compressible. Otherwise, the advantages of SandForce controllers become not so obvious anymore.

However, SSDs based on Marvell 88SS9174 do not depend on the type of data saved onto the drive. They demonstrate constant stable performance with compressible files as well as with incompressible photographs, videos and audio content. Moreover, Marvell 88SS9174 is capable of fighting the SSD performance degradation very effectively, so that it improves almost to its “fresh” level not only after the TRIM command, but even without it by simply performing idle garbage collection.

Therefore, solid state drives with a Marvell controller inside are a much better fit for RAID arrays or systems that do not support TRIM. As for all other cases, the choice between Marvell or SandForce based SSD should depend on the preferred usage model. SandForce devices will work faster in everyday tasks dealing with well-compressible data, while Marvell devices will deliver higher performance with incompressible data and in case of dominating random requests at a deep queue, which is more typical of servers.

If we were to choose between the three Marvell 88SS9174 based SSDs reviewed today, our favorite would be Corsair Performance Pro. It is the fastest product in most situations and its price is not unreasonable. Therefore, we decided to award this product with our Recommended Buy title. Even if you prefer SandForce platform, we strongly recommend considering Corsair Performance Pro as a possible option.

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